Are you taxi aware? - information for passengers
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Are you taxi aware? - information for passengers

We are responsible for making sure that the taxi and private hire trade in Leeds is operated in a professional manner and that the correct standards of safety and comfort are satisfied by all licensed drivers, vehicles and operators. We licence vehicles, drivers and operators and work to ensure that they meet the specific conditions that are placed upon their licence.

Our overriding principle is the safety of the travelling public and we are committed to contributing to a high quality transport service and continuous development and improvement within the taxi and private hire trade.

It is recognised that those who are licensed by the section are the biggest providers of transport in the evening and night time economy and safe licensing and monitoring of licensed drivers and vehicles contributes significantly to the safety of the travelling public.

The number of taxi and private hire licences issued by Leeds City Council can vary month on month however at the end of May 2017 we had issued the following number of licences:

  • 5236 private hire driver licences
  • 945 Hackney carriage (taxi) driver licences
  • 77 private hire operator licences
  • 4409 private hire vehicle licences
  • 537 Hackney carriage (taxi) vehicles

You can view our most up to date licence figures by visiting the Data Mill North which is updated monthly.

a pink taxi on a yellow background 

Are you aware that not all taxis are the same?

Although Hackney carriages (taxis), can be hailed in the street, private hire vehicles cruising the streets looking for customers are illegal, uninsured and potentially very dangerous. Never use any vehicle which is not licensed.

You can tell the difference between a Hackney carriage (taxi) and a private hire vehicle quite easily. Hackney carriages have an illuminated sign on their roof and they have a predominantly white body and black boot and bonnet ‘a black & white taxi’ or they will be covered in advertising, which is known as a full corporate body wrap.


Are there any safeguards when using a taxi or private hire vehicle?

Since 2016, every driver licensed by Leeds City Council must undertake an annual enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check, before a licence is granted or renewed. Alongside this, we have a comprehensive convictions criteria policy in place which means licences may not be granted or renewed if a conviction is present.

Additionally, before being granted a licence all applicants to the trade must undertake and pass a driving standards assessment, English comprehension test, customer care and local knowledge training. And by the end of 2017, every licensed driver will have attended a Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) awareness session.

All of our licensed vehicles have undergone and passed stringent tests for roadworthiness to ensure they meet MOT standards and comply with the current licensing conditions before a licence is issued.

If you have any concerns, do not get into the vehicle. If you feel threatened remember to trust your instincts. If you are at all worried ask the driver to stop in a busy area and get out of the car.

Licensed drivers will not be offended if you ring home to say you are on your way and give the number of the vehicle you are in.


Be ‘aware’ and follow these 5 simple rules:


  • Always pre-book: Only use a licensed taxi or pre-booked private hire vehicle.
  • Wait for it to arrive: Never get into a vehicle other than the one you have booked or a Hackney carriage you have hailed in the street or at a taxi rank.
  • Always check their badge: Confirm the driver is licensed and that they have a badge.
  • Ride with friends: Sharing a vehicle is a great idea and always sit in the back seats.
  • Enter only when sure: If you have any doubts, don’t get in and order another vehicle.
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Contact information

By email: taxiprivatehire.licensing@leeds.gov.uk

Address: Taxi and Private Hire Licensing, 225 York Road, Leeds, LS9 7RY

Monday to Thursday: 8am to 3:30pm

Friday: 8am to 3pm

Staff training every third Tuesday of the month, 8am to 10am

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Click to expandCan I hail or flag down a taxi in the street?

Yes, unlike private hire vehicles which are required to be booked in advance with a private hire operator, you can hail or flag Hackney carriages down in the street. They can also be found at Taxi ranks.​

Click to expandCan I hail or flag down a private hire vehicle in the street?

No, private hire vehicles must be pre-booked through a private hire operator. Failure to book in advance would invalidate any insurance in place therefore private hire vehicles cannot be hailed or flagged down under any circumstances.

It can be dangerous to use an un-booked private hire vehicle; the driver is not acting under the control of their operator and may be bogus. If you were to be the victim of a crime it would be very hard to trace the driver.​

Click to expandWhat do I do if I have a complaint?

General complaints against a licensed driver, operator and/ or vehicle

Some complaints are about poor customer service and we encourage taxi associations and private hire operators to investigate and resolve the problem, which they do on a large number of occasions.

If you wish to make a complaint regarding lost property, rudeness, lateness, overcharging, refusal to carry, parking nuisance, noise nuisance, behaviour, service, fares or cleanliness.

If you have already attempted to resolve the issue with them with no success, please provide us with as much information as possible to identify the driver/ operator and the vehicle being driven and contact us with details of your complaint. Please refer to our Complaint form​ which is available to download from the Documents section of this page. We will carry out further investigations and refer the matter to the police or other appropriate bodies as applicable.

Complaints regarding race, disability, sexual discrimination and/or inappropriate behaviour

Please provide us with as much information as possible to identify the driver/ operator and the vehicle being driven and contact us with details of your complaint. Please refer to our Complaint form​ which is available to download from the Documents section of this page. We will carry out further investigations and refer the matter to the police or other appropriate bodies as applicable.


What do we mean by inappropriate behaviour?

Did the driver’s behaviour make you feel unsafe? Was the driver suggestive or over familiar?

Although you may have coped with the driver’s behaviour, did it cause you concern for the safety of someone else who may travel with them?

We are committed to providing a quality transport service within the taxi and private hire trade and we want the travelling public to be confident and feel safe when using the taxi and private hire trade. We welcome feedback in any form be it compliment, complaint or comment and we offer someone to talk to in confidence and links to other sources of help.

You can contact us on 0113 378 1570 or via email at taxiprivatehire.licensing@leeds.gov.uk. ​​​​​​​​

Click to expandWhere can I find a Taxi rank?

Taxi ranks are provided where a demand has been identified, such as outside large establishments like hospitals, bus and rail stations, or at locations where the public or taxi associations have suggested they would be useful.

Ranks can be operational for 24 hours or part time, such as evening only.

Click to expandI left my bag/ phone/ wallet in the back of a taxi/ private hire vehicle, how can I track it down?

Leeds City Council are not responsible for property left behind in licensed vehicles.  In the first instance, please contact the private hire operator with whom you booked your journey or the taxi association.

Licensed drivers are expected to make appropriate enquiries to return the property to its owner but are advised to leave any left items with their local Police station within 72 hours of the property being discovered. 

Click to expandHow many passengers will a Hackney carriage (taxi) and/or private hire vehicle carry?

​Saloon vehicles can carry a maximum of four passengers, although wheelchair accessible vehicles (WAVs) and ‘people carriers’ can take more. The rear licence plate will state how many passengers that particular vehicle can carry or private hire vehicle carry.

Click to expandWill a taxi and/ or private hire vehicle carry passengers who use wheelchairs?

The majority of Hackney carriages are able to transport wheelchair users. Saloon vehicles do not have this capability but are still able to carry passengers with a range of disabilities and wheelchair users who can transfer. 

Unless the driver of the vehicle has a medical exemption certificate, they must not refuse to carry wheelchair users or assistance dogs.
More and more private hire operators have wheelchair accessible vehicles within their fleet but do ask at the time of booking.​

Click to expandHow will the fare be calculated and how do I know how much to pay?

Each Hackney carriage is fitted with a calibrated meter which can be seen in the cab of the vehicle.  A table of fares is displayed inside each vehicle. The meters are automatically set to change to the appropriate set of charges i.e. bank holidays, night time.

We don't control private hire charges. The fares are based on mileage and are calculated by the operator. You should always agree your fare with the operator/driver before getting in the vehicle.​

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